Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

In the beginning, nearly fourteen billion years ago, all the space and all the matter and all the energy of the known universe was contained in a volume less than one-trillionth the size of the period that ends this sentence.

I had the pleasure of visiting the American Museum of Natural History in New York late Spring 2021 around the time that COVID quarantine was slowly ending everywhere in the United States. In fact, there was a vaccine center set up at the center of it, right under the big whale. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Neil deGrasse Tyson worked there as the director of the Hayden Planetarium. Of course, I knew of him and his work as the current host of Cosmos, so it was nice to finally take a peak at his book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, which gives a solid review on the science and physics of all things space.

Within the chemically rich liquid oceans, by a mechanism yet to be discovered, organic molecules transitioned to self-replicating life.

We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out – and we have only just begun.

I should make up a name for that 6th sense that tells me when a writer is authentic. It may just be my experience as a writer or with literature, but I can always tell a book has been written almost 100% by the author with very little manipulation by third-party editors. Why? Because it sounds like the authentic voice of the writer. If you’ve seen any interviews with deGrasse Tyson, you can tell he has a very unique cadence and linguistic code. And yes… not all nerds sound the same!

To the scientist, the universality of physical laws makes the cosmos a marvelously simple place. By comparison, human nature — the psychologist’s domain – is infinitely more daunting.

Astrophysics for People in Hurry was a great read. So many great quotes! I couldn’t help compare it to Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, and I’ll likely also compare it to one of Stephen Hawking’s books that I have hidden away in storage in the future. A part of me is annoyed that I still liked Cosmos better. Maybe it’s because I’m not so good with math and calculations, and deGrasse Tyson does not slow down for anyone, not that he should. I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, like I was expected to already know some foundational astrophysics even though it’s still a rather easy read. In any case, this one takes a healthy 8.5 out of 10.0 in my reading scale. I hope to read some of this other work in future and compare.

Work Cited

De Grasse Tyson, Neil. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, W.W. Norton & Company. Accessed from CloudLibrary 2022.

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